Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N for Naomi - When Every Dream Has Died

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio 

Ruth 1:6 When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there.

Naomi and her husband are from Bethlehem but during a time of famine move to Moab. While there her husband dies. Her sons marry women from Moab but after a time both sons die. So Naomi finds herself alone in a foreign land. She tries to send the girls back to their families. One daughter agrees but the daughter Ruth says “Where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God; where you die I will die, and there will I be buried” Ruth 1:16

It just figures that Naomi is my topic today. I am struggling today. I am on the cusp of a change but all I feel in this moment is the loss. I was reading Jesus Life Coach by Laurie Beth Jones this afternoon. She tells a story of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson out on a camping trip. "It seems that one day Sherlock Holmes and his assistant, Watson, went camping. As the night wore on, Sherlock woke up, leaned over and asked Watson, 'What do you see?' Watson responded, 'Sherlock, I see the North Star, which has helped guide us to this spot. Beyond that I see the Big Dipper and the tail of Orion. I also can make out the edges of the Milky Way and I know that there are universes expanding beyond that.' Watson was about to continue his rapturous explanation when suddenly Sherlock elbowed him and hissed, 'Watson, you idiot, someone has stolen our tent!"   She goes on to say "Jesus once described himself as coming 'like a thief in the night.' I love the idea of his coming to steal our tent - the tent of our limited perspective - the tent of our fragile and segmented understandings - the tent that we think is keeping us safe, but is really just keeping us from seeing the universe." 

So Jesus has stolen my tent again and right now I'm still upset by it.  I am like Naomi in a foreign land where first her husband has died, and then her two sons. Her dreams have all turned to dust. She tries to send her daughter in laws back to their mothers hoping they will find new husbands. Ruth refuses " “Where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God; where you die I will die, and there will I be buried” Ruth 1:16

So together they head back to Bethlehem. Could this be Naomi the people say as they arrive. "20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty."

Naomi means pleasant.
Mara means bitter. 

So in my personal story no one has died but some dreams and things I have been trying to hold on to are on the chopping block. There is probably a starry sky full of next possibilities in front of me. At this point I'm still up set because someone has stolen the tent that held my dreams and I can't see the good of it, or the stars yet. At this point it just feels like a big loss. 

So while I'm not sending out invitations to a pity party, I am struggling. At the same time, I am thankful for a couple of very close friends who have committed to walk closely with me as I try see the possibilities and try to find some new dreams. Those of you who are friends, I would mostly ask you to pray for me. At this point it is hard to tell how everything will shake out. I dont have answers or even know exactly what will change. 

You and I know that the story of Ruth and Naomi does not end at this point. It is a chapter in their life that has closed but if you read on you will find that God had some really wonderful things in store for them both. I'm not saying that the road instantly became easy for them. I am saying our God is faithful and can be trusted. 

Next stop: Here is a girl from a foreign land gleaning in the fields of Naomi's relative Boaz. It took the Mr. Right to notice Ruth. He could see her dedication and faithfulness. Suddenly she who was unseen is noticed."So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”

Its a beautiful story that has a happy ending. When you are walking through your own story there are points where you feel disappointed because what you had hoped for did not work out like you had hoped. There are times we feel bitter, angry, hurt, not good enough or unloved. Don't get stuck in the depression start looking for the stars. God takes things away, not as a punishment or because he's a big meanie, but because he has a better plan. 

Recently I was given an entire wardrobe of beautiful clothes many still with the tags on. I have to say it was not hard to go through my closet and get rid of my old clothes. I just boxed them up and sent them to the thrift store. They had served their purpose and I could let them go. God had supplied something far better. 
The same is true of his provision, be it jobs, ministries, clothes or even dreams... 
Luke 12:28

If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!

Like Hagar in the desert beside herself with grief because she was sure she was going to have to watch her son die right before her eyes. At some point she cries out to God. God tells her look up, over there. Look there's a well. It had been there the whole time. She just couldn't see it.  The stars, the well, the dreams, the answer is there - we just can't see it because we are still beside our self in the grief over the loss of our dang tent. 

Ruth 4:15. After Ruth married Boaz and gave birth to Obed, the women of Bethlehem paid her the highest compliment by telling Naomi that her daughter-in-law Ruth was better “than seven sons.” This recognition spoke highly of Ruth’s character since being a mother of seven sons was the highest accolade a woman in Israel could receive. 

She is also in the family line of Jesus. 

So I think this is an interesting tid bit my bible woman tomorrow. Her name means to pitch a tent in the heights upon which God will have the blessed ride. Honestly I picked these names over a month ago. I did not have a great agenda in mind but I have been finding that God did. He has been using these posts to speak to me in deep ways as I have worked through them. Today I can identify with Naomi's loss of her dreams. I know the my story won't end here. I also know that it is ok to grieve the loss of things and people and dreams that were important to us. Its painful because they were important to us. It has taken me a lot of years to learn to embrace the pain, to allow myself to feel it and reflect on why it hurts. I know that shoving it away in a trunk till someday only delays the pain of the grief it does not diminish it. At some point the chains begin to rattle and you have to face what you have locked away. Grief is a process and a journey that we must all walk through from time to time. The good news is that there is nothing that you or I are facing that is beyond Jesus ability to understand or to comfort. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Margot. Just now reading this and sending up a prayer. The timing of this post, as you say, is no small coincidence. God bless!!


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